From India to France via the Middle East! How recent alumnus Syam Unnikrishnan leveraged his career with the Executive MBA

22 NOVEMBER 2018

One of the advantages of an Executive MBA program is to give yourself the rare gift of time. Time to take a step back from your career, be introduced to unfamiliar situations, expand your outlook on management and business and then realign your goals to take on another adventure.

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Recent Indian graduate Syam Unnikrishnan completed his Mechanical Engineering degree in India in 2005. He then leaped into an international career spanning through the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, advancing from production engineer to deputy general manager.

After 11 years, Syam realized that he lacked the strong management skills necessary to lead big international projects therefore he decided to enroll in the Executive MBA fast-track program at emlyon business school.

“My point of view was that an Executive MBA provides an option to collaborate and learn with many experienced professionals, providing an excellent chance to sharpen the leadership skills. Emlyon provides a unique opportunity to do the Executive MBA in ten months. This allowed me to take a break from my career and concentrate on my MBA. I strongly believe emlyon’s Executive MBA fast-track option is a catalyst for your career growth”

Syam was also looking for a culture shock. Having never worked or studied in Europe, he wanted to develop his cultural intelligence and what other way to do this other than immersing yourself in a multicultural and diverse environment? The participants are not only culturally diverse, but also professionally.

“The diversity of the participant profiles were excellent, this was one key element which made team work very interesting. After spending ten intensive months with experienced professionals, you are well prepared to handle many cultural challenges that you are expected to face in professional life.”

While the program met Syam’s expectations in terms of the quality of lectures and elective options, he was not expecting to complete the MBA wanting to work for a different industry.

Through the Individual Makers Project that participants are required to work on throughout the year, Syam worked with a multinational company from a completely different industry, to build a ‘Go to Market strategy’. The project allowed him to learn about this new industry, apply the strategic tools that he learnt during the MBA and visit manufacturing plants in Europe.

“As an MBA participant it was an exciting journey for me, and towards end of the program, I knew what I wanted to do post MBA. The project opened up an opportunity for me in the same organization. The Executive MBA helped me change my career from the building industry to the industrial automation industry, which is thriving at the moment.”

Based now in France and working as a Business Development Manager, Syam looks back at his time at emlyon business school as a professional and personal triumph.

“Through my classmates, I have created a good network with many top professionals. We are very much connected post program and this is truly one of the important ‘take aways’ from the program.”

What advice does Syam have for future participants?

“It is good to remember that you are studying with many experienced professionals who could bring lot of value to your professional life. So each moment that you spend in class will give you the chance to secure good knowledge and to explore great opportunities too.


Many thanks to the admission team of executive MBA, who helped me to guide through the process and to take right decision of joining the program, which suits my profile.”


The Executive MBA, a course with two options available in Lyon or Paris


With a part-time option of 3 days a month over 20 months or 10 months of full-time, fast-track teaching, the emlyon business school Executive MBA is for experienced managers and executives who intend to undertake a new project or want to challenge themselves by acquiring new skills focused on the challenges of today's business world. Ranked 5th worldwide for career progression by the Financial Times (2018), the Executive MBA explores business and strategy issues, decision-making, management, data and personal development and situations.

For more information, download the brochure